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Sibal peace pipe

New Delhi, Oct. 9: Keen to avoid a repeat of the pay dispute with the IITs, human resource development minister Kapil Sibal is preparing peace packages for India’s top technical institutions that may be unveiled over the next two weeks.

Sibal is independently meeting directors of the IITs, IIMs, the National Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research in an unprecedented blitzkrieg to diffuse any lingering tensions, The Telegraph has learnt.

The HRD minister will formally offer the institutes greater autonomy — both in financial and managerial terms — and will insist on mechanisms to address faculty grievances, top government sources said.

The minister has already indicated that he is keen on greater autonomy for the IITs and the IIMs, and has asked his ministry to formulate a grievance redressal mechanism for IIT teachers.

But ministry sources said Sibal has now decided to extend his autonomy embrace to cover the NITs and the IISERs as well. All these institutes will also be offered faculty grievance redressal mechanisms.

Sibal is scheduled to meet directors of the seven IIMs on October 16, and will chair a meeting of the IIT council — the highest decision making body of the IITs — on October 19.

He is also scheduled to chair the NIT council — the highest executive body of the NITs — and the directors of the IISERs within the next two weeks. Sibal is currently in Paris attending a Unesco meeting and is scheduled to return to India on October 13.

At his meetings with the directors of the IITs, IIMs, NITs and the IISERs, Sibal is expected to declare that he wants to ease the HRD ministry’s control over tie ups these institutions engage in with others.

Sibal, it is learnt, is also keen to ease the norms that at present limit the ability of these institutions to share each other’s faculty.

The planned set of meetings follows a protracted tussle between the HRD ministry and the IIT faculty over teacher salaries. The dispute saw the HRD ministry face charges of neglecting concerns of teachers and of infringing on the autonomy of the IITs — charges that the ministry denied.

The dispute was resolved — at least for the present — after a meeting between IIT faculty representatives and the HRD minister last weekend in Delhi.

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